Baroccupy Obama: A Call to Action

This Friday, President Obama will speak about higher education at the University of Michigan Al Glick Field House. As citizens concerned about ensuring that education is accessible to all, Occupy Ann Arbor calls on the people of Ann Arbor, as well as on the UM community to stand in solidarity against the corporatization and control of public education by the 1%.

People will gather 8:30am Friday in front of the Blue Front store at State St. and Packard. Folks from Occupy Ann Arbor will be passing out flyers, then all will march together as close as we can get to the Field House for Obama’s 9:30 speech.

Bring chants, signs, noise makers, and good cheer as we stand up for accessible education!

Check out the Facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/events/286303971423199/

The Occupy Ann Arbor Direct Action working group has released the following call to action.

This Friday, January 27, President Obama will speak at the University of Michigan Al Glick Field House. Obama’s visit could not be more timely. As tuition costs rise, University President Mary Sue Coleman is becoming a vocal champion of market-driven “solutions” to decreased state funding. Last month, Coleman wrote an open letter to Obama in which she called on university presidents, business leaders, and wealthy individuals to tackle the rising costs of higher education.

It is becoming increasingly evident that leaders such as Obama and Coleman see education, less as a public good necessary for the health of our democracy, and more as an “investment” in stregthening US competitiveness in the global marketplace. At a time when the global economy is in crisis, Coleman’s aim to employ educational institutions in service of revitalizing the US economy may seem noble, but her market-centric language betrays her real priorities. When Coleman states that American business “has a vested interest in the talent and research embodied in higher education,” it becomes clear that she and her allies on Wall Street and in the US Chamber of Commerce want an educational system that serves the interests of the 1% over the rest of us.

Obama’s visit comes as Coleman calls for heightened collaboration between University and business leaders. UM is re-purposing ex-Pfizer properties to house researchers conducting corporate-friendly research and faculty “entrepreneurs” engaged in University-sponsored startup ventures. Coleman calls on wealthy alumni and “philanthropists” to contribute to University endowments, which in turn are invested on Wall Street and used to fund business ventures. These initiatives represent the same failed policies of corporate and political elites to drain public resources and impose austerity, all the while benefiting the 1%, whom our leaders have been quick to praise as “job creators.”

We call on the people of Ann Arbor, as well as on the UM community to stand in solidarity against the corporatization and control of public education by the 1%. We call on everyone to see President Coleman’s promotion of “entrepreneurship,” capital investment, and “philanthropy” in the face of neoliberal austerity as intimately connected to the myriad policies that have unjustly concentrated wealth in the hands of a small elite. We call on various groups to organize actions around the University’s crackdown on organized labor and to actively resist the pro-corporate policies of the Coleman administration. We are the 99% and we stand for education that serves everyone, not simply those with the deepest pockets.

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O4A Saturday Discussion Group, Ypsi GA

NOTICE: Our dear facilitator just came down with a little bit of the flu and is regrettably cancelling the discussion tomorrow. Stay tuned for future discussions! And don’t forget to check out the Occupy Ypsi GA.
Discussion Group
Cafe Ollie
42 E. Cross St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
1pm, Saturday, January 28

http://www.facebook.com/events/258975334171657/

After an engaging discussion on Monday evening, O4A will be hosting an informal discussion in Ypsi this Saturday. Join us at Cafe Olle at 1pm and we’ll discuss the strategies for moving forward with occupy and how we can take inspiration from the occupy movement to prefigure alternatives to the prevailing socio-political order.

Occupy Ypsi GA

Parkridge Community Center
591 Armstrong Drive, Ypsi
3pm Saturday, January 28

After the discussion, we’ll be heading over to the 3pm Occupy Ypsi GA. For more info on Occupy Ypsi and the Parkridge Community Center.

Check out http://occupyypsi.tumblr.com/ and http://parkridgecommunitycenter.com

Occupy4All Action Assembly – Monday, January 23rd @ Amer’s Delicatessen!

Occupy4All Action Assembly

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

7pm until 10pm

Amer’s Delicatessen
312 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Occupy For All finally reconvenes after a long and busy holiday season! Let’s circle the wagons and prepare for a fresh start in 2012! We will discuss the recent Inter-Occupational Summits, the MLK Day March, the State of the State, and much much more! Also, we will be putting a heavy focus on the future of O4A and where we go from here!

It is an event not to be missed!

http://www.facebook.com/events/118671838254209/

Happy Holidays (Or Not) From Occupy For All!

To all our friends and fellow Occupiers,

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you the safest and happiest of holidays, whatever those holidays might be. For those of you that do not celebrate holidays during this season, happy inconsequential, ordinary winter season! We have been taking a few days to re-cooperate and prepare for the new year that is upon us! Do not fear! We aren’t going anywhere, we are just preparing for the long struggle that is ahead of us, while still fulfilling our obligations to ourselves and our families. 2012 is going to be a very exciting year, full of change and opportunities for action. We will not let them pass us by.

Peace and Solidarity to each and every one of you!

In our Winter, we shall not forget the Spring

Happy Birthday “Arab Spring”

Today, the “Arab Spring” turns one year old.

After months of violence, the Libyan people toppled Gaddafi, Yemen’s leader is working on a deal to leave power, protests continue in Bahrain, while Syria remains in chaos. Tunisia and Egypt toppled their leaders and both along with Morocco recently held elections.

Who could have guessed a year ago that people would topple regimes, hunt down dictators, make presidents flee for their lives, and hold the the first democratic elections…   and all of this inspired by the act of one single man:  Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor who made $5-10 per day selling produce out of a wheelbarrow.

When Bouazizi was only three years old, his father, a construction worker in Libya, died of a heart attack. Bouazizi was only 10 years old when he became the primary breadwinner for his mother, his ill stepfather and five younger siblings.

As Bouazizi grew older, the people of his town—Sidi Bouzid—knew him as a friendly and generous young man who often gave free produce to poor families.  Generous also to his own family, Bouazizi sacrificed his dreams so he could afford to put his younger siblings through school. Bouazizi always aspired to go to college and hold a job with more prestige and a higher salary than peddling his cart of produce.  He applied to a number of positions including the Army, but—rejected—Bouazizi continued selling fruit and vegetables at the market to support his family.

Bouazizi’s difficulty finding a good-paying job was not out of the ordinary in Tunisia. In 2010, Tunisia suffered from an average unemployment rate of 14%, Sidi Bouzid reportedly endured a 30% unemployment rate, and in other towns similar to Sidi Bouzid in the interior of Tunisia, the unemployment rate for university graduates can reach 50%.

Since his childhood, Bouazizi endured regular harassment from local authorities and government officials about his cart, but on December 17, 2010 something changed.

Claiming he did not have the proper permit, officials harassed Bouazizi, confiscating his produce and his scale worth $100.  After refusing a fine/bribe of around $7, one female official insulted Bouazizi and allegedly slapped him in the face in the middle of the public market.

Humiliated and angry, Bouazizi marched to local government headquarters and demanded to meet with an official to retrieve his $100 scale so he could continue selling produce.  When the governor’s office refused to meet with him and hear his case, Bouazizi, angry and desperate, took drastic action.

He bought a can of fuel and doused himself.  Standing in the middle of traffic in front of a government building, he asked, “How do you expect me to make a living?” and he lit himself on fire.

The act was horrifying, but many people related to this young man’s struggles.

This humble man leading a simple life, through one desperate act, galvanized the feelings of frustration, anger and desperation into inspiration and action for an entire country.

Maybe the revolutionary spark lit because his story is so familiar?  Many knew a Bouazizi in their own town, and many saw a little Bouazizi in themselves.

Reposted from Voices of the Arab Spring on Tumblr

http://voicesofthearabspring.tumblr.com/post/14351916482/happy-birthday-arab-spring

Inter-Occupational Summit Agenda Template

Given Consensus by the Summit Assembly on December 15th, 2011.

Inter-Occupational Summit
Agenda Template

Introduction to Summit

–          Read Occupy Wall Street Call to Action (Until we write our own)

–          Introduce Facilitation Team

  • Facilitator
  • Notes
  • Stack
  • Timekeeper
  • Vibes Checker

–          Introduce Attendees

  • Name and Occupation

Introduction to Process

–          Review Hand Signals

Agenda (5 min.)

–          Review Summit Purpose

  • The summit is a gathering of individuals from all of the various occupations in hopes of opening the lines of communication between those occupations and helping to establish goals and inter-occupational actions.

–          Brief Agenda Review
–          Agenda Plug-Ins

  • Proposals
  • Announcements

–          Vibes Check on Agenda

Occupation Report Backs (5-7 min. each)

–          Occupy Ann Arbor
–          Occupy Detroit
–          Occupy Flint
–          Occupy For All
–          Occupy Kalamazoo
–          Occupy Lansing
–          Occupy Tri-City (Saginaw, Midland, Bay City)
–          Occupations Not Listed

Inter Occupational Action Discussion (10 min.)

–          Fill in with Proposed Inter-Occupational Actions

Summit Planning

–          Next Summit: Fill in Summit Information as determined by previous Summit
–          Following Summit: ???

  • Pick a date and location (alternating between Saturday/Thursday)
  • Make sure the chosen location is represented at this Summit.

Announcements (2 min. each)

–          Occupation Actions/Events
–          Autonomous Actions/Events
–          Fill in with Other Announcements

Proposals (5 min. each)

–          Fill in with Non-Action Related Proposals

Close Summit

–          Rally Cry, Song, Etc.

Soap Box

–          Unmoderated Open Forum